Knights of the Couch - Part VI - Party Crashers
Aksel and Glorfindle were standing in front of Peltar’s house with their stone golem, the Boulder. It had been three quarters of an hour, but there had been no sign of the three Greymantle sisters: Ves, Ruka, and Maya. Then they heard a familiar voice calling from down the road, “Hey Aksel! Glo!”.
It was Seth. He and Martin were both walking down the road with Lloyd in between them. Each had a hand on one of the big warblade’s arms. They were guiding him since he was still blinded from his encounter with a dark magician back at Cape Marlin.
As the KOTC members were reunited, Martin asked, “Is Ves here yet?”
“No,” Glo responded, “It’s strange, but they haven’t shown.”
“Well, we’re all here now,” Aksel said, “We might as well go in and give Peltar his amulet.”
The group walked up to the front door of the cottage and knocked. There was no answer. They waited a few minutes and then knocked again, but there was still no response.
Then Seth pushed back the others and looked closely at the lock on the door.
“What is it Seth?” Aksel asked.
“This door has been tampered with. And rather poorly I might add. The lock looks broken,” the halfling told them.
Seth pushed the door open. There, lying in the entryway was one of Peltar’s apprentices. He was lying in a pool of blood.
Seth and Martin drew their weapons. Lloyd, hearing the sound of steel said, “Whats’ going on?”
“Shhh,” Seth replied.
Martin leaned over and whispered to him, “There’s a dead body in the hallway.”
Seth stealthily moved past the body and into the hall. Glo and Aksel moved in behind him and knelt next to the body.
“He’s dead Glo,” Aksel said. “Stabbed in the back. Did you know him?”
“Abracus,” the elf wizard answered. “One of Peltar’s other apprentices.”
“How many others are there?” Aksel asked.
“There are two others, Fliben and Gristla,” Glo replied.
Seth had gone back to the front door and was re-examining it. Then he came back and knelt by the other two. “The lock has scratch marks all around it on the inside of the door. Whoever broke it was already in the house.”
“That’s strange,” Martin said, “Why would someone want to break out of the house?”
“Unless they were letting someone in,” Aksel pointed out, “and didn’t have the key.”
“I think we better search the house,” Glo said. “This was not a random break in. No one in his right mind would force their way into Peltar’s house.”
Martin said, “If this is going to get ugly, I’m not going to be much use with this sword.”
Aksel got up, handed the archer some coins and said, “Run down to the weapon shop as quick as you can and pick up a bow.”
“You got it,” Martin said, already turning to go. “I’ll be right back.”
Seth led the way into the main house, followed by Glorfindle and Aksel. They left Lloyd, who was still blinded, in the entryway with the Boulder.
The house was still as a tomb. There was a main hall running down the center. To their left and right were two closed doors.
“Where do these go?” Aksel whispered.
“The one on the left leads down to the basement. The one on the right is the dining room,” Glo told them.
Seth checked the basement door. It was not locked. He opened it and looked down the stairs. It was dark and quiet.
“Let’s come back to that later,” Aksel whispered.
Seth closed the door and they explored the dining room. It was empty. There was a door leading into the kitchen which was also empty. There was a pantry off the kitchen. Inside they found the body of the cook. He had been stabbed just like Abracus.
They searched the rest of the first floor but found nothing else. There were two sets of stairs leading up to the second floor. Seth went up first while Glo and Aksel waited at the bottom. The staircase led to a landing and then turned to continue to the second floor. The little ninja stealthily made his way up till he was at the top. He carefully peered around but saw nothing. It was dreadfully still.
The second floor had a hallway going left and right with a window at either end. There were a few doors on both sides of the hall. The stairway continued up to the next floor.
As Seth entered the hallway, he noticed a trail of blood dripping down from the landing on the stairway going up. He carefully snuck up the stairs and reached the landing. The trail continued up the stairs. The little ninja peered around the corner and caught sight of two black robed figures lying on the stairs. He froze for a moment, but then saw that they were badly burned.
Seth began to search around until he found a trap box. Of course, he thought to himself. It would have to be at the top of the stairs.
He began to carefully make his way up to the box. As he passed the bodies, he noticed that one of the figures had a serpent tattoo on his arm.
Suddenly, the fire trap went off. If he had not had ninja training, he would have been badly burned like the two luckless dark robed figures. But before the fire could completely engulf him, he launched himself backwards and was able to back flip down to the landing.
“Seth! Are you alright?” he heard a loud whisper from down the stairs.
“I’m fine!” Seth Seth responded in kind. Then he checked himself and found that he had gotten a bit singed. “Damn, I should have seen that coming” he muttered to himself. Then he went all the way back down to rejoin the others.
“What happened?” Aksel asked when he saw him.
“Fire trap,” Seth said. “The box is at the top of the stairs to the third floor. But there’s no way to get to it without going through the trap. You wouldn’t happen to have any resistance spells handy?” he asked Glo.
“Sorry Seth, but I didn’t memorize that spell today,” Glo told him.
“So now what?” Seth said, fidgeting around.
“Hold still while I heal you,” Aksel chided. He touched the singed spots on the halfling, there was a flash of light, and the spots disappeared. “That’s better,” Aksel declared.
“Maybe we could douse you with water?” Glo suggested.
“It’s better than nothing,” the halfling replied. “Douse away!”
The elf and gnome poured water over the little halfling.
Seth went way back upstairs to the upper landing. Then he cautiously made his way up past the two bodies. This time he made it through the trap without setting it off. The little ninja disarmed the trap box and then went back down to search the bodies. All he found was a golf ball sized diamond. “I’ll take that,” Seth said to himself.
Then he turned and went back up to the top of the stairs. There was a door there. He searched around but found no more traps. He tried the door but it was locked. As he attempted to pick the lock, a gust of wind suddenly began to whirl beside him.
Seth turned around and bolted down the stairs. As he rounded the landing to the first floor he yelled to the two casters, “RUN!”
Aksel turned quickly and sprinted back down the hall. Glorfindle was not quite as quick, however. Seth passed him and before the wizard could get up speed, he was suddenly swept up by a vortex that had come whirling down the stairs right behind the little ninja.
Aksel stopped and turned in time to see the elf being swirled around in the winds of a Greater Air Elemental. The cleric quickly called the Boulder using his ring and commanded it to gently grab Glorfindle. The huge stone golem began lumbering down the hall past the cleric towards the flailing wizard.
Meanwhile, Seth ran into the foyer and grabbed Lloyd, yanking him back with him into hallway.
“What’s going on?” Lloyd exclaimed as the little ninja dragged him along.
“Air elemental!” Seth yelled. “It’s got Glo!”
“Right” Lloyd said drawing his twin blades.
Seth had to dodge not to get hit.
“Watch it!” Seth screamed at Lloyd, “You almost decapitated me!”
“Sorry!” Lloyd cried. “I just got excited.”
“Nevermind,” Seth said. He ran behind Lloyd and started pushing him down the hall. “When I tell you, start swinging!” he told the warblade.
“Got it!” Lloyd cried.
They passed the Boulder and got close to the air elemental. Glorfindle was still swirling around in it’s vortex, but he was now way up at the top of the creature.
“Ok Lloyd. Start swinging!” Seth yelled.
The big warblade set his stance and then started hacking away at the air in front of him. He missed the elemental but succeeded in stopping it from advancing any farther down the hall.
Meanwhile, Seth took out his puncturing dagger and snuck around to the side of the creature. Careful not to get too close, lest he get sucked into the vortex as well, he set himself and then plunged his dagger into the elemental. He must have hit his mark because the monster visibly shuddered. But Seth had to jump back then or risk getting caught up by the creature’s winds.
Then the Boulder reached the elemental. It tried to grab Glorfindle, but the poor elf was being whipped around so fast now that the golem could not quite grasp him.
Suddenly, the wizard let loose a lightning bolt into the creature. A second later, the elemental sent the elf flying down the hall, over the golem and Lloyd. Glo hit the ground tumbling end over end until he was practically at Aksel’s feet.
The cleric was immediately at the elf’s side. “Are you alright?” Aksel asked the wizard.
“Been better,” Glo managed to gasp.
“Give me a second,” Aksel said. He concentrated and told the Boulder to attack the air elemental.
“Okay,” the cleric told the elf, “Now let’s get you healed up.
Back down the hall the battle got heated. The air elemental attacked the stone golem but could not move the heavy creature nor make a dent in its hide. Then the Boulder began swinging at the air elemental. It hit twice with its huge arms and caused the monster to flinch both times.
Then elemental backed away from the golem and right into Lloyd’s swords. The warblade, who was literally swinging blind caught the elemental with both blades. The creature shuddered violently under both blows. It was now wobbling wildly.
Seth had backed away from the fighting and was looking for another opening when a hot red beam of light arced over him, over Lloyd and past the Boulder to connect with the air elemental. He glanced over his shoulder and saw Glo standing at the end of the hall, his finger still pointing and leaning on Aksel with his other arm.
Seth turned back just in time to see the air elemental begin to break up. Its winds died down, and he could vaguely make out the outline of a transparent figure. It looked as if it was screaming silently, then it vanished and the elemental was gone.
The little ninja turned back again to see a look of satisfaction on the wizard’s face. He was about to make a comment when Martin appeared at the end of the hall.
“Did I miss anything?” the archer asked innocently.